August 4, 2021, 12:18 am

Staff Correspondent

2020-10-25 11:08:44 BdST

Bangladesh on track to achieve SDGs: Zuena Aziz

Bangladesh is on the right track to attain the global sustainable development agenda by 2030 despite multifaceted challenges lying ahead in the path of the long journey.

The country has already attained or made remarkable progress in reaching the goals set for 2020 under the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Under the visionary leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, the SDGs were well aligned with the government mid-term development plan --7th Five Year Plan (FYP) ende4d in June 2020.
The upcoming 8th FYP will concurrently be the second successive document of the government’s SDGs implementation.

“The foundation of SDGs is inclusively—embodied by the phrase ‘Leaving no one behind’ and ‘Reach the furthest behind first’. The government has taken several effective steps for reaching all the goals for everyone,” Zuena Aziz, Principal Coordinator of SDGs, told media.

“The proportion of people living below the national extreme poverty line is 10.5 percent in 2019, which is on track to achieve the target set for 2020,” she added.

Poverty has dropped to 20.5 percent in 2019 which was 40 percent in 2005 when the life expectancy at birth increased from 65 years to 72.6 years.

Bangladesh also achieved gender parity in primary and secondary education by 2018 while its literacy rate increased to 74.4 percent which was 53.7 percent in 2006, according to Voluntary National Reviews, 2020.

The phenomenal success of under-five mortality and neonatal mortality is revealed as their present status has already reached the target set for 2020.

The annual growth rate of real GDP per employed person is 5.85 per cent in 2019 which has already crossed the target of 5 per cent set for 2020.

“As the same government has been in office for a consecutive period, it helps achieve the targets,” Zuena Aziz said.

The government is in the process of localising SDGs, particularly in the District and Upazila level.

The cabinet on December 3 in 2018 approved 40 (39+1) priority indicators for localization of SDGs.

Some 39 indicators from 17 goals were selected which were considered to be crucial for the local level of our country and producing reinforcing effects on other targets.

An additional priority indicator was left to achieve ‘leaving no one behind’ according to the circumstances of a specific district or sub-district, meeting the ground reality of that particular geographical area.

“The Natore Model is developed for district level and a framework is finalized for localizing SDGs at the sub-district level, making the SDG aspirations become real to communities, households, and individuals, particularly to those who are at risk of falling behind. It is hoped that local level people would fix the targets and prepare corresponding action plans to implement the SDGs,” said the Principal Coordinator.

Despite achievements in many indexes, the absolute number of poor people is a huge challenge for Bangladesh as five million people would still be hard-core poor in 2030.

Albeit the health sector has shown phenomenal success, ensuring universal health coverage will require more resources and efforts while warranting quality education at all level is a daunting task.

The VNR report points out some structural challenges for SDGs implementation in Bangladesh.

It has identified mobilization, active stakeholders’ engagement, data availability and management, localisations of SDGs and incorporating three dimensions sustainability---social, economical and environmental---- protection in development activities as major structural impediments.

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